Study # 1
August 3, 2003
Lincolnton, N.C.

Thesis: The Lincoln Community Bible Church exists to bring certainty to theophiles so that they may walk in the light by faith. Introduction: As we begin what may well be a long and, at times, difficult journey as a community of the faith, we need to have a legitimate justification for existing in distinction from all of the other communities of faith that exist in our neck of the woods. Therefore we are going to ask ourselves this question this morning: why do we exist as a Church? I would like to begin to address this question by asking you to turn in your Bibles to Acts 17:15-34. Here we have an account of the apostle Paul as he traveled to Athens. In this account there are two statements made by Luke that have significance to us. The first one is Paul's statement in verses 22-23:
Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. (AV)
The second one is verse 34:
Howbeit certain men clave unto him and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them. (AV)
The point of these two statements is that Paul faced the same thing we face this morning -- a large community of very religious people with a huge variety of theologies -- and when he proclaimed God's truth, some believed and joined themselves to him. It is our expectation, believing as we do that God has been working behind the scenes to bring the Lincoln Community Bible Church into existence, that we will see the same kinds of things in Lincolnton that Paul saw in Athens -- some very religious people who sneered at the truth and some who recognized it as truth when they heard it.

But someone may say, "Darrel, many of the 'theologies' in Lincolnton are 'Christian'. Why does Lincoln county need another one that may well be just a variation of several that are already here? Is not the multiplication of churches more a matter of man's ego (much like the time in Israel when the judges ruled) than the will of God?". This is a legitimate question, and it deserves a biblical answer. So, this morning we are going to attempt to give a biblical answer.

Turn with me, if you will, to Luke 1:1-4 [and just a brief word here about translations in the context of the King James only crowd: we are not going to play that game; people who use translation questions as litmus tests for theological accuracy have no interest in the Truth and we have no interest in playing their games].